Alright, this is a little out of character for me (if it’s not, let me know!), but I’m kind of proud of the results of the ongoing changes I’ve been making to my eating habits. Since September 2021, I’ve lost about 80 pounds. Among the results I’ve experienced from that, I move better, sleep better, think better, overall just feel better. In addition to that, unlike with several other times in my life when I’ve put some actual effort into being healthy, I now actually believe that the new habits I’ve adopted are actually sustainable; while I used to have a target weight in mind, now I just want to live differently and see where it takes me.
One of the side effects (or benefits) of losing so much weight is the obvious fact that my clothes don’t fit the way they used to. Not too long ago they used to be tight and uncomfortable, but now they hang on me loosely, some even to the point where I worried that a good sneeze would cause an embarrassing “wardrobe malfunction.” So over the past week or so, I’ve had to get some new clothes (in sizes I haven’t worn since college!).
What a difference new clothes can make! More than giving me a new look, these new clothes reveal a whole new life. I imagine there’s some psychology involved here, but replacing my older, bigger clothes with newer, better fitting ones has helped me let go of the past and look forward to the future. However, I find myself hesitating to get to the next step: getting rid of the old clothes; once I do that, there’s no going back without some difficulty and cost.
That’s the same struggle many of us have with this new life in Jesus. Even though we have taken off the old self and “put on the new self,” as Paul describes in Ephesians 4:22-24, we find ourselves slipping back into the old just because we’ve kept it hanging in the closet. Paul tells us that not only must we put on the new self in Jesus but we must also get rid of the old self; he writes in Colossians 3:7-10:
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
This new life in Jesus isn’t just swapping the old for the new; it’s a matter of getting rid of the old and replacing it with the new.
In fact, the old should be dead and buried, as Paul writes in Romans 6:2, “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” He continues to explain it this way in Romans 6:6, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” The old, sinful life must be done away with so that we cannot go back to it.
Sure, that’s easier said than done. As much as we want to get rid of the old self, there’s an attachment to it – like an old t-shirt or a pair of jeans that are just too comfy to get rid of. We’ve spent a lot of time in that old way of life; it’s familiar, it’s easy. It just doesn’t fit anymore, and it’s time to get rid of it, not just pack it away.
Besides, the new life doesn’t just fit better; it fits perfectly. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12-14:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
With a new life that comes from God’s love, we’re no longer clothed with anger and rage; we’re clothed with compassion and kindness. We’re no longer clothed with malice but with forgiveness. So as we put on Jesus, let’s get rid of the things that don’t fit and put on a perfectly new life.